Referring to a past that never was, dij vu shares a structure not only with fiction, but also with the ever more sophisticated effects of media technology. Tracing the term from the end of the nineteenth century, when it was first popularized in the pages of the Revue philosophique, Peter Krapp examines the genealogy and history of the singular and unrepeatable experience of dij vu. This provocative book offers a refreshing counterpoint to the clichid celebrations of cultural memory and forces us do a double take on the sanctimonious warnings against forgetting so common in our time.
Disturbances of cultural memory-screen memories, false recognitions, premonitions-disrupt the comfort zone of memorial culture: strictly speaking, dij vu is neither a failure of memory nor a form of forgetting. Krapp's analysis of such disturbances in literature, art, and mass media introduces, historicizes, and theorizes what it means to speak of an economy of attention or distraction. Reaching from the early psychoanalytic texts of Sigmund Freud to the plays of Heiner M]ller, this exploration of the effects of dij vu pivots around the work of Walter Benjamin and includes readings of kitsch and aura in Andy Warhol's work, of cinematic violence and certain exaggerated claims about shooting and cutting, of the memorial character of architecture, and of the high expectations raised by the Internet.
Peter Krapp, lecturer in the Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota, coedited "Medium Cool," a special issue of the South Atlantic Quarterly on contemporary media theory. He has published in the fields of German studies, media studies, and literary theoryand, since 1995, has acted as editor of the Hydra Web site for theories of literature and media.